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Coronavirus vaccine conspiracies fact-checked: Ridiculous theories causing people to think

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Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been a number of conspiracy theories linked to COVID-19. Some theories suggested the virus was engineered in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, while others followed the idea 5G telecommunication towers spread the virus. Conspiracy theories surrounding the virus have been debunked, but as significant developments in the search for a vaccine have started to emerge, so too have a number of conspiracy theories on vaccination.

Recently the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine have both demonstrated to provide effective protection against coronavirus in trials.

Earlier this month the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine proved to be more than 90 percent effective at protecting people from the virus.

The makers of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have now said the vaccine is 94 percent effective for people over the age of 65.

More than 43,000 people have taken part in the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trial.

Recently Pfizer and BioNTech updated their results, stating the vaccine is 95 percent effective.

US company Moderna has also stated their vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective at protecting people from coronavirus.

The Moderna vaccine trial involved 30,000 people in the US with half being given two doses of the vaccine and the other half given a dummy vaccine.

Of the 95 participants who tested positive for coronavirus, only five cases were confirmed among people who had been vaccinated.

What are some of the conspiracy theories surrounding the vaccine?

There have been a number of conspiracy theories about coronavirus and vaccine development over the past year.

One theory has centred on the idea many of the covid vaccines in development will alter a person’s DNA.

Previous forms of vaccines often use inactive or modified forms of viruses, which when injected prompts an immune response from the body.

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As many COVID-19 vaccines in development use mRNA rather than inactive forms of coronavirus, there has been some speculation mRNA vaccines can alter your DNA.

Messenger RNA, also known as mRNA, sends instructions to the body to produce antibodies, without injecting any actual components of the virus.

Full Fact, the website run by independent fact-checkers and campaigners, have fact-checked a number of claims about coronavirus vaccination.

Full Fact state: “mRNA vaccines work by introducing a molecule into the body which instructs cells to build a disease-specific antigen.

“The antigen is then recognised by the immune system which produces antibodies to fight the real thing.

“It doesn’t change the body’s DNA or ‘wrap’ itself. mRNA vaccines are generally viewed positively as they are cheap, and don’t involve using part of a virus-like some traditional vaccines.”

Another famous conspiracy theory linked to the coronavirus vaccine surrounds Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Online theories have surfaced that suggest there are plans for trackable microchips to be implanted when people receive vaccines for the virus.

The theory was prevalent on social media, with many of the posts stating Mr Gates will “launch human-implantable capsules that have ‘digital certificates’ which can show who has been tested for the coronavirus and who has been vaccinated against it.”

In May 2020 a Yahoo News/YouGov poll found 44 percent of Republicans in the US believed the claims Mr Gates wants to use the vaccination campaign to implant microchips in people.

A number of news outlets and fact-checking sites have found no evidence of any truth to the claims.

BBC Reality Check debunked the theory, as they found no evidence to support it, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told the BBC the claims were “false”.

The conspiracy theory was based on a Reddit exchange several months ago, where Mr Gates replied to a question on what changes are needed for businesses to operate in order to maintain the economy and provide social distancing.

Mr Gates said: “The question of which businesses should keep going is tricky. Certainly, food supply and the health system.

“We still need water, electricity and the internet. Supply chains for critical things need to be maintained.

“Countries are still figuring out what to keep running. Eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told Reuters: “The reference to ‘digital certificates’ relates to efforts to create an open source digital platform with the goal of expanding access to safe, home-based testing.”

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